Ducks get second shot at a win in Nashville
Tuesday, 04.19.2011 / 3:13 PM
NHL.comDUCKS at PREDATORS
(Nashville leads best-of-seven series, 2-1)
TV: TSN, RIS (HD), KDOC (HD), FS-TN
Anaheim was one of the hottest teams in the NHL heading into the postseason, but after three games against Nashville the Ducks are down 2-1 in the series. The Ducks will look to get the series even once again in Game 4.
Anaheim is already facing an uphill battle with a 2-1 series deficit after three games. Not only did the Predators wrest home ice away from the Ducks in this series with a 4-1 win in Game 1, but without a victory in Game 4 Anaheim will face a win-or-go-home showdown Friday night at Honda Center. The Ducks need to take a game in Nashville at some point to win this series.
The order for Game 4 is tall, particularly with Bobby Ryan
finishing the two-game suspension he incurred as a result of an incident in Game 2. For Anaheim to pull itself back into the series, it won't just require a productive night on the scoreboard -- it'll require some mental fortitude as well.
Nashville is just one home win away from putting its higher-seeded opponent on the brink, but a 2-1 series lead is no guarantee, a truth these Predators know all too well. It was just a year ago that Nashville had a 2-1 edge on the division-rival Blackhawks before seeing Chicago reel off three straight wins to advance to the second round and win an eventual Stanley Cup title. As the Preds look to win a playoff series for the first time in franchise history, it will be a pivotal step for them to grab Game 4 and put a stranglehold on a team that could be poised to break out offensively at home when Ryan returns for Game 5.
To this point, the Preds have done a better-than-average job of keeping pace with Anaheim offensively. Nashville has scored 11 goals in the first three games of the series, in large part thanks to Mike Fisher, who is tied with Daniel Sedin, Pavel Datsyuk and Corey Perry
for the league scoring lead this postseason.
Fisher's accomplishments so far this series are unmatched by the rest of Nashville's roster, but Martin Erat has come close lately, tallying 1 goal and 2 assists over the last two games. … Perry, Ryan Getzlaf
and Teemu Selanne
have continued the hot streaks they carried through the season's final month, combining for 13 points so far this postseason.
While Hiller has not yet played in this series, his continued absence looms large for the Ducks as they try to get stability between the pipes.
Pekka Rinne was one of the toughest goalies to score on this season, compiling a 2.12 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage, good for third and second best in the League, respectively. In the first three games of the playoffs he hasn't quite lived up to that billing, crafting a 2.70 GAA and .887 save percentage.